What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Conscience & Holy Spirit

Last week I was meeting with a student and a book we were reading prompted this great question: what's the difference between our conscience and the Holy Spirit?

After some delay tactics followed up by some verbal processing, I came to something of a conclusion. Our consciences are just like our wills, imaginations, minds or emotions. Everyone has one. All of them are fallen or broken to some extent. Some people feel guilty about stuff they shouldn't feel guilty about (the over-active conscience) and some people don't feel guilty at all about stuff they should feel guilty about.

So the work of the Holy Spirit is to redeem our conscience so that it partners with the work of the God to bring true conviction where needed. The Spirit works to heal the broken conscience so that we ultimately might judge ourselves rightly.

I think practically speaking this means that we should pray for the healing work of the Spirit to touch our conscience and to align it with the formative work of Christ in making us whole people. Not every pang of guilt is from God. But a peaceful night's sleep isn't necessarily reflective of our true standing before God, either. Our basic temperament and upbringings are the factors that shape our conscience as we have them in our natural state.

Fortunately, neither one of those factors has to have the last word on any part of us. That's part and parcel of the good news of the healing and transformational work of Christ.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Thank you for your insight. Some friends of mine were discussing this very issue which is how I found your site. You are right, our conscience does need to be healed by the Holy Spirit so that we are not feeling guilty about things that we shouldn't or missing something that we need to address. Thank you again.

Vanessa Collins